Ten Dates – Review
Follow FollowGenre: FMV, Dating sim
Developer: Wales Interactive, Good Gate Media
Publisher: Wales Interatice
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Switch
Tested on: PC

Ten Dates – Review

Site Score
Good: Great performances by the cast
Bad: Sticks too close to familiar character archetypes to feel challenging
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

While the COVID-19 pandemic heavily affected the video game industry in general, it was perhaps the studios behind FMV games that suffered the most drastic consequences. Actors were no longer able to work in the same room and worldwide lockdowns also severely limited video shooting locations. These strange times gave us some absolute FMV gems, however, like Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus and Five Dates, both of which have a story that takes place on the internet. FMV studio Wales Interactive is now casting off the shackles of COVID-19 with a sequel to that latter title, the appropriately titled Ten Dates. Should you let Ten Dates steal your heart or is this a game that you should ditch as soon as you can?


The stars of Ten Dates are Misha and Ryan, who decide to partake in a speed dating event. Well, Misha decides to, anyway, as she tricks and ropes Ryan into participating alongside her. What follows then is a series of speed dates where the two millennials attempt to find a potential suitor for the emotional component that they are missing in their lives. They’ll go on five initial dates each, including same-sex options for both. There are multiple ‘rounds’, with the goal being to get a third ‘date’ with your preferred partner of choice. The supporting cast mainly consists of the people that Misha and Ryan go on dates with, and the majority of them are likable, albeit a bit cliché. The cast does a wonderful job with the material here, although we do feel like the writing is a bit shallow at times. We won’t delve into spoiler territory, as going in blind is half the fun here, but despite the occasional twist or turn, Ten Dates ends up being a fairly predictable affair.


As this is an FMV game, the majority of the ‘graphics’ you’ll be looking at is actual video footage, of course. The production quality of FMV games varies wildly, but Wales Interactive’s titles tend to be on the higher quality end of the spectrum. Granted, the scope of Ten Dates is much more limited than something much more ambitious like Square Enix’s The Centennial Case, but within the limitations of its own story, Ten Dates certainly delivers in terms of production value. Apart from the live-action footage implemented here, graphics are limited to the overall user interface and the inside of virtual devices, such as the phone you make your dating profile on. In this regard, Ten Dates is serviceable, but not overly impressive.


Just like with the visuals, the production quality of the audio is good. Voices are clear and mixed properly, and the venue where the speed dating event takes place has proper ambiance mixed in. The attention to detail is remarkable here as well. At certain points in the story, video chat conversations between Ryan and Misha happen and the audio crispness in these is deliberately worse compared to the parts of the game that take place offline, mimicking the actual sound quality of real-world phones.


The title probably already made it clear that Ten Dates offers an FMV take on the dating sim genre. Given that this is an FMV title, the gameplay is understandably limited, although there was a bit more depth here than we initially expected. Early on, you’re tasked with creating a dating profile for our protagonists. You get to select which profile picture Ryan or Misha uses, what their interests and occupations are, and even which star sign they have. These may seem like superfluous additions to pad out Ten Dates’ interactivity factor, but the choices that you make here actually affect how some of the dates play out. If a potential suitor mentions a subject that ties into the interests or occupation you selected, the conversations play out differently compared to them talking about things Misha or Ryan don’t have a clue about. A single playthrough of Ten Dates will take you between one and two hours, depending on which choices you make. Of course, if you decide to skip scenes you’ve already seen, then subsequent playthroughs will be significantly shorter. Just like previous Wales Interactive releases, the game also has a streaming mode where the game automatically pauses when you need to make a choice, presumably so that the audience of a streamer can vote on which direction the story should take next, as opposed to the QTE-like time limit implemented in a standard playthrough.

The ten potential suitors all heavily lean into specific character archetypes without feeling overdone, which makes it easy to butter up to their particular profile after your initial playthrough, and you can craft a dating profile geared towards making their heart beat faster. That’s not to say that these characters are two-dimensional, as the game often throws you a curve ball and has characters respond in unexpected ways. This adds a degree of realism, as in real life it’s also not always easy to read what the person across the table is really thinking. Seeing the conversations play out differently depending on your dating profile and the choices you make during conversations is fun, but in all honesty, we don’t consider Ten Dates to be a game with a high replayability factor, simply because the game doesn’t push you towards seeing everything play out. Just like any other dating sim, the ‘goal’ is simply to aim for your specific person of interest, whether that’s cocktail aficionado Hazel or biker Ty. The game does implement an achievement system of sorts to motivate you to return to it but this feels like padding rather than actually challenging you, as most of the tasks are easy enough to figure out.

While Ten Dates is solid for what it wants to be, it has two major shortcomings. The first is that ultimately, the conversations lack depth. Granted, there is only so much you can cram into the speed date format, which is probably why Wales Interactive went with archetypes as well so that players would immediately ‘get’ the characters, but we feel like a more nuanced approach would have perhaps made for a less shallow experience. The second shortcoming is tied to that character archetype approach, because despite that aforementioned occasional curveball, the way a conversation goes remains fairly predictable, and in turn, Ten Dates doesn’t feel challenging in the slightest. As anyone that has ever ventured into the real-life dating world can attest, things often don’t go as smoothly as one would want. In this regard, we have mixed feelings about Ten Dates. A more realistic approach to the dating scene would have made for a more challenging title, but the game probably wouldn’t have been as accessible, or enjoyable for that matter.


While Ten Dates is a perfectly serviceable FMV title that adheres to the production quality standard that we’ve come to expect from Wales Interactive, we do feel like the game is lacking ambition. Don’t get us wrong, it’s an enjoyable affair altogether, but a little deviation from what most people would expect from an FMV dating sim could have gone a long way here. As it stands, the game’s appeal is limited to only one or two playthroughs, with the first one used to identify which potential partner you want to conquer, and the second playthrough tailoring your dating profile to achieving that lofty goal if you didn’t succeed on your first try. There isn’t enough here, however, to motivate players to return for the other nine dates after the first successful one.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Ten Dates - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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